Avinash Advani interview as featured in the Cityscape Show Daily.

Q. What are the major challenges for the real estate development and investment industry looking to the short to mid-term, as we enter the final quarter of 2009?


A. Financing for developers has been difficult because with a large portion of the world is still reeling from the global downturn. The spillover effect is that sales of off-plan property worldwide are at a low. These developers will need to work on having enough capital to finish the projects that have begun and manage the supply delivered to the market in next few years. The majority of off-plan transactions that took place in the region prior to the financial crisis were based on speculation. Speculators have now, either been badly burned and left with limited investment capital, or have escaped with what they can and are not looking back.


Q. Are emerging markets still an attractive option for global investors beyond the current situation?


A. Emerging markets will always remain an attractive option for global investors because of the general lack of transparency and regulatory infrastructure in those markets. These markets allow investors with a large amount of flexibility to speculate and ride the wave of an upward rising market cycle and then depart when convenient. One thing to remember is with price drops come opportunity.


Q. What are the realities for the recovery timeline for this region? Is there a sense of optimism or is the industry still adopting an extremely cautious stance?


A. 2009 is the year of correction. 2010 is the year of stabilization. 2011 is the year of recovery. When the marketing price-point and the laws of supply and demand cross, there will be a consistent recovery. The industry is not adopting an optimistic nor a cautious stance, but more of a realistic market-driven approach. The general market sentiment started off extremely negative. Due to government intervention and viral optimism from well established companies in the region that believe in the region’s strong global positioning and robust services-driven foundation, the sentiment has steadily turned more positive and that trend is slowly continuing.


Q. What lessons do you think the industry has learned from this experience?


A. Three lessons to always remember:
1. Be realistic and don’t try to grow too fast.
2. What goes up must come down.
3. Bubbles always pop… it is inevitable.


Q. Do global investors look to regions where fiscal stimuli have being initiated as good indicators of potentially sound future investment opportunities/markets?


A. It really depends on the stimuli. I would question markets that have borrowed to stay afloat. I would also look at the leadership and decision makers there and the ability for the leader to make tough calls. Going into these markets means you need to factor in a larger margin of error or understand the dynamics of the market extremely well.


Q. What are the inherent strengths of this region (or the market in which you operate)? And are there particular areas of weakness that need to be addressed as we move forward?


A. Strengths: Cash reserves, oil, geographic location, services-centric business culture, focus on technology, good long term prospects, business hub, tax savings Weakness: Political relations due to regional instability, lack of established compliance and regulation, bureaucratic, tedious and costly immigration, labor, business licensing processes, oversupply


Q. Is there any particular government legislation you believe could boost confidence at consumer level as well as within the lending community?


A. Established compliance and regulation in the real estate market could boost confidence to protect all parties. Also giving individuals the ability to retire in the U.A.E. would boost confidence.


Q. Is it more important than ever to have the opportunity to network with your peers at events such as Cityscape?


A. I would not say it is more important. It is just as important as ever. Topics change, but the communication needs to continue.


Q. Do you have plans to attend future Cityscape events? If so, which ones?


A. Yes, worldwide.


Q. What are your expectations (business-wise) from this year's event?


A. I would expect to generate brand awareness and significant interest, bring on new customers, showcase on how complex challenges in real estate decision can be solved through business intelligence and 3D visualization and to meet many partners looking for way to join forces and leverage on each other’s expertise.


Q. What do you think will be the hot topics at this year's event?


A. See above questions.


Q. Which conference discussion sessions or investor round table sessions do you plan on attending and which particular speakers are of interest to you?


A. Conferences involving the heads of major developers are always interesting to talk to. Also, understanding what the real estate landscape outside the GCC region is perceived to look like amid the recession, so Day 2 and 3 of the Cityscape Conference in their entirety.



Master key Systems
Avinash Advani, CEO 



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